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Monday - October 06, 2008

From: Citrus Heights, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants to control erosion in shade in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I need plants that will help prevent soil erosion on a sloping area under a wood fence. The area has filtered light. thank you!


The best plants for erosion control are always native grasses. They have fibrous roots that will grip and hold the soil, and usually hold their places year-round. The only problem could be that you have "filtered" light. We are going to assume that means shade, which we consider to be sun for 2 hours or less a day. Most of the recommended grasses native to California are looking for full sun, which is 6 or more hours of sun a day. However, we did find 4 grasses that fit the bill, and another that, while not native to California, should do fine there. If you don't want grasses, we have a suggestion for a vine that can work as a groundcover, and two low groundcovers. These would not necessarily be as effective as grasses in controlling erosion, but would certainly help. We put those in because you mentioned the sloping area being beneath a wood fence, and you might need something low there.

Read our webpage on each plant, and follow the link at the bottom of the webpage to Google more information about the plant. If you find some that you think will work for you, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area. 

Danthonia californica (California oatgrass) - to 1-1/2 ft. tall. Pictures

Festuca californica (California fescue) - 3 to 6 ft. tall

Melica imperfecta (smallflower melicgrass) - 1 to 3 ft. tall

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) - 2 to 3 ft. tall

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - 2 to 4 ft. tall

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) - can creep or climb, is listed as deciduous, but should be semi-evergreen in your area

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot) - low growing groundcover

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) - low growing groundcover

Festuca californica

Melica imperfecta

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Dichondra carolinensis

Calyptocarpus vialis




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